After spending $1.2 million on renovations (and a weather delay), San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department officially reopened Noe Courts this afternoon.
The park, which spans half a block, is located at the corner of 24th and Douglass Streets. In partnership with state Senator Scott Weiner and Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, Friends of Noe Courts worked with city officials to design a recreation area that met neighborhood needs.
Friends of Noe Courts member Laura Lynn Norman said incremental changes Rec and Park made weren't making the park feel welcoming to neighbors. “We’ve been working on making these changes for the past fourteen years," she told Hoodline.
Because Noe Courts isn't "a destination park," Norman said residents had to “jump through different hoops, attend various community meetings and work hard to get on the city’s radar."
“Bevan Dufty was the Supervisor when we started this process and was incredibly helpful," said Norman, but "once he termed out, Scott Wiener took the baton and ran with it. To have this level of renovation for a park this small is a miracle.”
Originally built in the 1930s as part of the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression, the Noe Courts Park and playground were rededicated in 1981 and renovated in 2006 to modernize it.
Rec and Park general manager Phil Ginsberg said the existing tennis and basketball courts were decades-old and in poor condition. Playing surfaces had numerous large cracks, goal and tennis net posts were corroded, and the fence enclosing the courts was warped and damaged.
“Everything was in total disrepair and unwelcoming, said Ginsberg. ”Parks are important to neighborhoods no matter how big or small, and everyone should have the right to enjoy this amenity in their community."
The Community Opportunity Fund Grant, Clean & Safe Neighborhood Park Bonds and funds secured by then-Supervisor Scott Wiener helped pay for a new bathroom, lawn terrace, a plaza complete with picnic benches, and a new basketball and tennis courts.
“This project is a perfect example of what happens when everyone works together," said Weiner. "It took the community to step up and say that what was here before wasn’t good enough, and it was not easy."
Before the renovations, Weiner said a "hidden" Noe Courts was fenced off by "overgrown trees and foliage."
Now ADA-accessible, other improvements include new fences, upgrades to irrigation and long-standing drainage issues, new turf and landscaping, and a mini-amphitheater designed by Lizzy Hirsch and Gabe Neal of San Francisco Public Works.
There’s still minor work to be done as the Friends of Noe Courts plans to donate the park’s new signage, but Supervisor Jeff Sheehy said the refurbished, redesigned park is just the beginning.
“This feels like a gift to me," he said. "I’m really excited about the success of this project, and I look forward to working on improving more parks in my district.”
Weiner agreed. "I’m sure Supervisor Sheehy will discover in time how fulfilling will it be to get projects like this off the ground," he said.
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